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When a Deal Is a Don't

Know when you should walk away from a negotiation.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There are clear business reasons to break off a negotiation: The parties are too far apart on money, one side finds a better alternative, unforeseen circumstances arise and so on. There are also subtler, very savvy reasons to pull the plug, such as:

Your opponent is a pain. You learn a lot about a person's character when you negotiate with him. If you don't like what you see and hear when you're bargaining, chances are it'll only get worse after you close.

Closing becomes a pyrrhic victory. You make what you think is a simple deal. Then the "professionals" get involved, and simplicity is a thing of the past. At their best, lawyers, accountants, bankers, brokers, appraisers and consultants can be the key to your success. They can also bleed you dry with fees and commissions. Above all, ride herd. Don't let these expenses become disproportionate to the deal size.

You just get a bad feeling. I subscribe to this definition of intuition: knowing without knowing why you know. Years ago, upon meeting a prospective employer, I heard this little voice in my head: "You will learn to hate this man." I later learned he had a reputation as a screamer who burned through secretaries on a monthly basis. If your Higher Self says to walk away, take direction and be appreciative. Yes, you, too, know things that you don't know you know.

A speaker and attorney in Los Angeles, Marc Dieneris author of Deal Power.

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